Gun Control: How many lives will it take for us to make a change?

Radford University student shares his opinion on gun control laws, stressing there should be stricter laws in place.

Gun statue

Photo by Maria Lysenko: However, arguing over what our political beliefs are is keeping us from the real problem.

By Christian Millsaps | cmillsaps1@radford.edu

Wakefield, Massachusetts, December 26, 2000. Blacksburg, Virginia, April 16, 2007. Newtown, Connecticut, December 14, 2012. Boulder, Colorado, March 22, 2021.

These dates and locations are just four of some of the most deadly mass shootings that have occurred since the turn of the century in 2000. 

These four events alone account for the deaths of 76 people … 76 lives that should have never ended the way that they did. 

In my 21 years of life, I can remember too many times when I heard about another person who chose to take multiple lives for whatever motive they had. I am a part of the generation that started practicing school shooting drills because of the insanely high number – 188 according to Wikipedia data that was verified by the Washington Post – of school shootings since 2000 in which well over 100 people lost their lives.

[epq-quote align=”align-left”]These four events alone account for the deaths of 76 people … 76 lives that should have never ended the way that they did. [/epq-quote]

Every time another shooting happens, the country takes a side and argues passionately about whether or not this is the “last straw” to restrict access to and make it harder to obtain guns in America. 

Some people believe strongly that gun control is needed, while others believe that people, not guns, are the problem we are facing as a nation.

Depending on your political affiliation, you might lean heavily in one direction or the other. Democrats favor stricter gun laws while Republicans don’t. We get so caught up in our own beliefs that we ignore, whether intentionally or unintentionally, the real problem at hand.

Whether you agree with gun control or you don’t, I think we can all see that this country is fighting an epidemic, and that epidemic is mass shootings. 

Whatever you believe is the main culprit of that problem, you should be able to admit that there is one because statistics paint a very clear picture.

[epq-quote align=”align-right”]Whether you agree with gun control or you don’t, I think we can all see that this country is fighting an epidemic, and that epidemic is mass shootings. [/epq-quote]

Each side has its points, and each is associated with a specific party.

The lives that have been lost due to mass shootings shouldn’t be turned into a political issue. They should be something we all come together to protect. Obviously, gun laws require legislation that requires politics. 

However, arguing over what our political beliefs are is keeping us from the real problem. Who cares who you voted for and what party you identify?

This is so much more important than that. 

We should all care enough about each other to put an end to these unnecessary and preventable deaths. 

I am not advocating to get rid of guns entirely; I am saying get rid of the ones we don’t need.

There should be stricter gun control laws because, after all, 84 percent of mass shootings since 2000 were done with legally obtained weapons, according to Statista.com. 

[epq-quote align=”align-left”]We should all care enough about each other to put an end to these unnecessary and preventable deaths. [/epq-quote]

Those who argue gun control laws won’t prevent mass shootings because people will find a way to obtain weapons illegally are proven wrong because data shows that isn’t an issue. 

Stricter gun control laws could potentially make it harder for people to obtain weapons easily and legally. If stricter laws even prevented half of that 84 percent of shootings, lives would be saved.

That being said, the second amendment does give all American’s the right to own a gun. Unfortunately, though, too many people don’t truly understand what the second amendment means or was originally intended to mean. When it was ratified in 1791, the world, and our country, looked very different than it does now. 

We had won independence just 15 years earlier, we had no police force, and the federal government had far less power at the time than it does now. 

At that point in United States history, state governments essentially operated independently from each other, and there was very little federal involvement. 

Not to mention the second amendment allowed for militias – which were important at the time – to bear arms. Naturally, when the federal government gained power in 1789, the second amendment was created to prevent the government from gaining too much power. 

After all, the young country was still wary of their past with England.

In the 21st century, however, we have a police force (its flaws are a discussion for another time). We no longer require militias, and our federal government has many checks and balances. 

[epq-quote align=”align-right”]Owning guns is fine, but having a concealed carry license and being able to buy AR-15’s is necessary. [/epq-quote]

Am I proposing the second amendment be abolished? No, I am not. 

I, however, think we need to look at it from a modern perspective. Owning guns is fine, but having a concealed carry license and being able to buy AR-15’s is necessary. 

AR-15’s fire essentially the same rounds that an M4 fires with two differences. One is that the 223 Remington (AR-15 rounds) fires at 3,000 less PSI than the 5.56 Nato (M4 rounds). 

The other is that the 223 is .125” shorter throat than the 5.56, which basically means the 5.56 has more room for more gun powder which creates a more powerful bullet. 

An AR-15 is easy to use, reloads very quickly, and can fire 15 rounds very accurately in seconds. 

Someone could still use a pistol that fires either a 9mm or .45 ACP, but the damage they could do would be far more minor than they could with an AR-15.

Owning a gun may be a right that American’s will always have; I get that.

[epq-quote align=”align-left”]I simply think it would do our country a lot of good to make guns, like the AR-15, harder to obtain. [/epq-quote]

I simply think it would do our country a lot of good to make guns, like the AR-15, harder to obtain. 

This isn’t a political statement; this is just someone who is tired of hearing about and seeing people die for no reason when we could do more to prevent it. 

I may not know anyone who lost their lives in Boulder on March 22 or those who lost their lives in Atlanta on March 16, but I do know I feel deeply for their family and friends. 

I also know that one of those six Asian women could have been my own mother. We need change. We need to think less about politics and more about each other.